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Cleveland: Amish farmers get double-takes plowing near downtown

7:32 AM, Jul 1, 2010   |    comments
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A six-acre garden is going into CMHA property behind the Riverview Apartments high rise.

Resident Edward Mapp said, "I grabbed my camera. What a sight."

Visitor Adelicia Acosta said, "It's a beautiful thing. I never thought I would see horses or Amish people here. It's good they are using the land."

The Amish were hired to start the project. None of those participating wished to be interviewed.

The Ohio City/Near West Development Corporation is partnering with Refugee Response and The Great Lakes Brewery to get this literally off the ground.

"What we have in the back of downtown and near the West Side Market is one of the largest contiguous urban gardens in the country," said Eric Wobser, of the development group.

"We want to be the neighborhood that feeds Cleveland," he said.

Pat Conway is the very green-thinking co-owner of Great Lakes Brewery. An acre and a half of the garden will be a "classroom" for the restaurant's workers to supplement vegetables already being grown at Hale Farm.

"I'm pumped. It's a boon for Ohio City," he said.

Refugee Response plans to train 25 resettled immigrants from Burma, Burundi and Rwanda. Many of them did farming in their native land.

"It's about empowerment for them, to engage in work that is meaningful to them," the group's David Wallis said.

One survey already ranks Cleveland the #2 local food big city in the country. Portland is #1.

Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman thinks more projects like this could propel Cleveland in the top spot of this sustainable category.

CMHA residents will be able to try gardening on small plots.

Plans call for selling some produce at the West Side market. Some will got to CMHA residents at deep discount prices.


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